The office was unusually quiet as Taeyeon walked in. The lights were on but there was no one around. She checked the schedule in her phone and glanced at her watch. It was definitely a normal working day. Perhaps everyone was late due to the heavy snow earlier in the morning.
Pausing in the middle of the walkway, Taeyeon looked wistfully at the department’s cubicles and rooms. She had submitted her resignation a few weeks ago and was currently serving her notice. She missed the fun and laughter, as well as, the tears and pain they shared. However, the lure of better prospects and pay proved too appealing. In her current position, she knew she wouldn’t be able to rise in ranks.
After settling down in her room, Taeyeon headed for the pantry to get coffee. Just as she turned at the corner, she almost dropped her mug in shock.
“Whoa, I almost kissed you!”
Right in front of Taeyeon was Jessica. The Marketing manager was just inches away from Taeyeon and she had an equally stunned look on her face. Jessica was holding her iPad with one hand and had a file in the other. Behind Jessica was an odd scene. Everyone was frozen in various poses, it felt like time had stood still. Sunny was bending over to pick up scattered papers around the photocopier, Yuri and Yoona were tangled up in silver and gold tinsels, Tiffany was flashing her famous eye-smile while taking a selfie in front of the tangled duo, Hyoyeon was in the midst of falling off her chair and Seohyun was sharpening pencils.
“Taeng, freeze!” Sooyoung shouted. “Hold up your mug!”
Taeyeon did as she was told, wondering what was going on. Her eyes were scanning the surroundings and locating the origin of the loud commanding voice. At the same time, she was getting a little warm under her collar due to the close proximity between Jessica and herself. She couldn’t look at Jessica straight in the eyes and she was trying to hide her smile.
Sooyoung was walking around the office in a haphazard manner, holding a video camera in her hand as she filmed closeups of each person. When she came to the corner where Taeyeon and Jessica were standing, it was evident she was stifling a laugh.
Sooyoung tapped Taeyeon on the shoulder and used hand signs to tell the shorter girl to mimic what she was doing. Sooyoung was pouting her lips and moving them very close to Jessica. Taeyeon’s furrowed her brows as she shook her head.
Under Sooyoung’s fiery glare, Taeyeon had no choice but to oblige. She knew how scary Sooyoung get if no one listened to her. Taeyeon’s heart was beating doubly fast and her cheeks were warm. She avoided looking at Jessica’s lips, choosing to focus her attention on her eyes and nose. Those lips were too attractive and were drawing her in.
Using her fingers, Sooyoung asked Taeyeon to look at Jessica in the eyes and for Jessica to look back in shock. It was obvious both Taeyeon and Jessica were very awkward but decided to comply.
Sooyoung gave a thumbs up and continued filming while holding in her laughter.
“Everyone, we’re done! Great job!” Sooyoung declared before bursting into laughter.
Everyone unfroze themselves and the usual noisy atmosphere resumed.
Taeyeon and Jessica took a step backwards each. Taeyeon heaved a sigh of relief while Jessica hurried back to her seat.
“You almost kissed her, if not for me,” Sooyoung grinned, draping an arm around Taeyeon as she accompanied the Operations senior manager to the pantry to get her coffee. “Or would you rather you did?”
Sooyoung broke out into another burst of laughter. It wasn’t until Taeyeon jabbed the tall lady hard in her ribs that she stopped and yelped in pain.
“Am I the only one who’s unaware of the mannequin challenge?” Taeyeon asked icily while trying to calm her heartbeats.
“Hmmm…we didn’t expect you to arrive at work so early.”
“That’s just bullshit.”
“You know me so well. I staged it for your sake.”
“We’re all curious if you’re really into her. You know, having special feelings towards Sica. That poor girl is obviously oblivious to what the rest of us had planned. We intentionally have her stand at the corner and for you to run into her. Thank goodness, you’re a creature of habit and arrived at the office at almost the same time everyday.”
Taeyeon blinked twice, amazed at her colleagues’ ‘creativity’.
“Judging from your red cheeks and soft gaze, I formally declare that you’ve a crush on her!”
Taeyeon stepped on Sooyoung’s foot. “Shhhhhh!”
Sooyoung leaned in and said in a low voice, “Heck the rule about office romance. Anyway, this is your last week in the company so just confess to her. HR isn’t going to come after you.”
Taeyeon drew circles around her right temple. “Did you wake up with a brain freeze this morning?”
Sooyoung laughed. She used a coffee stirrer to poke Taeyeon’s chest, where her heart was. “You know it yourself.”
Taeyeon sighed as Sooyoung left the pantry. She had always been clear about what she wanted at work, but it appeared practising that principle in her personal life was tougher than what she thought.
Two days later, it was Christmas eve. Everyone wasn’t in the mood for work and they were gathered in small groups around the office, chatting away.
“Hey Taeng, come here and join us. Stop pretending to be hardworking,” Yuri shouted..
Just as Taeyeon walked out of the room, Jessica happened to pass by. They almost collided into each other.
“Sorry!” Both of them apologised simultaneously.
“Everybody, look!” Sooyoung yelled, pointing to Taeyeon’s room.
Laughter and wolf whistles rang throughout the office.
“There’s a mistletoe above Taeng’s door. What must you do if two people meet under a mistletoe?” Sooyoung taunted.
“Kiss, kiss, kiss!” Everyone chanted.
“Since when did this appear?” Jessica asked, her voice a little shaky.
“Ya, who hung this here? It wasn’t here this morning when I came!” Taeyeon defended.
“Don’t be a spoilsport and just kiss,” Tiffany said, smiling from ear to ear.
“Then we can cut the log cake and eat!” Yoona urged. “I’m starving!”
Taeyeon looked at Jessica, the latter was blushing deeply and she was sure she mirrored Jessica’s facial colour.
“It’s dumb but…” Jessica shrugged her shoulders.
Taeyeon nodded. “Yup, you know they’re not going to let us off so easily if we don’t…”
Jessica gave a shy nod. She was twiddling her fingers and didn’t look up at Taeyeon.
Taeyeon landed a quick peck on Jessica’s forehead but was greeted with shouts of disapproval from the rest of the colleagues.
“Let them off ya,” Tiffany requested as she huddled the two red-faced ladies to the pantry where the food was.
The party was over at lunch and people were packing up to go home. Most of them had already left, fearing for the longer travelling time due to the earlier snow storm.
“Hey, still around?”
Jessica turned her head around and saw Taeyeon standing at the entrance of the pantry.
“You too. Not leaving yet?”
Jessica turned off the tap and dried her mug before facing Taeyeon. Taeyeon took a few steps closer and rested one hand on the pantry cabinet, blocking Jessica’s exit.
“Soon. There’s something I need to do before I leave.”
“I see. So errr….finish soon then.”
“Ya, I plan to do it now.”
Hesitation lingered in the air, both of them not wanting to move.
“What is it you plan to do?” Jessica asked, a sense of anticipation building up inside of her.
“You know that I’m leaving the company after Christmas right?”
A quick nod.
“So, there is something I need to do before I leave, something I have been wanting to do but I couldn’t.”
Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump
Taeyeon stepped forward, swept Jessica’s hair to the side and kissed her.
The kiss surprised Jessica more than she had expected. Despite mentally preparing herself during the few seconds from the moment Taeyeon appeared in the pantry, the physical contact and emotional pleasure were more than she had asked for. It felt like the best Christmas present she received this year.
The kiss ended. Jessica loved the feel of Taeyeon’s arms around her waist and willed herself not to turn into jelly.
“I’ve been aching to do this for weeks.” Taeyeon’s voice was low and husky. “But the company policy forbids dating among employees. You can’t imagine how much I had to hold back when we had to kiss earlier on.”
Taeyeon paused, waiting for Jessica’s reaction. She was certain the latter enjoyed the kiss, judging from her body language.
Jessica couldn’t help but smile. She wrapped her arms around Taeyeon’s neck and pulled her closer.
“You’re leaving already so don’t hold back anymore…”
With that statement of approval, their lips met again.
= THE END =
A/N: Inspired by my colleague’s remark ‘oh I almost kissed you’ when we almost collided into each other around a corner in the office.